Through the lens of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), over the 17 days leading up to the Australia’s national election we will be highlighting the challenge for an inclusive and sustainable Australia, what can be done to address the challenge and what BCSD Australia, as part of a global WBCSD network is doing to create impact.
On Day 16, we are looking at SDG16: Peace, justice and strong institutions
According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, Australia’s leading institutions, including government, business, NGOs, and the media, are among the least trusted in the world. Did the 2017-18 same-sex marriage debate suggest that Australians value inclusive decision-making and highlight a need for reform in our political system? Should our institutions deliver greater value than they have in the past? What are the barriers to political engagement? There is strong support for democratic reforms that ensure greater integrity and transparency.
Violence, while declining, is still a major issue in Australia, following distinct gender and age-based trends. The SDSN Transforming Australia report highlights that while from 2012 to 2016 the proportion of people experiencing violence declined (with men reporting a steeper decline), the proportion of men and women experiencing sexual violence/harassment increased to almost 18% of females and less than 10% of men. And with the estimated cost to the Australian economy of $22 billion per year, the need to prioritise action to support survivors and work with perpetrators becomes clear.
How can we bridge the trust divide as between citizens, and between citizens and government:
Hold a plebiscite on whether Australia should be a republic with an Australian head of state.
Ask the people of Australia whether there should be an Indigenous Voice to Parliament, as proposed by the Uluru Statement from the Heart, to the public in its first term, with the goal of enshrining it in the constitution.
Establish a National Integrity Commission.
Inquire into whether Australians should limit spending on election campaigning and how much political parties and candidates can receive from donors.
Introduce reforms to ensure greater political accountability of MPs and parties to their electorates and members, such as free votes in parliament
Consider reforms that stimulate greater public participation, such as the co-design of public services with citizens (e.g. Partnering for a Sustainable Environment)
Develop primary prevention campaigns and educational efforts on all forms of abuse, including gender-based violence and age-based violence.
What is BCSD Australia doing to create impact to address these challenges?
We are working with a number of partner organisations on projects that will help to address this challenge here in Australia and around the world, including: